Popular tourney thrown into chaos

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

The annual Ibhola Lethu off-season soccer tournament in Daveyton is in disarray.

Six senior teams were disqualified for failing to honour their quarterfinal fixtures at Wattville Stadium on Wednesday.

They are Benoni Premier United, Sunrise, Majantja, Friends Like These, Bocco Juniors and Smiling Buds.

This was confirmed yesterday by tournament director Raymond Ngoetjana (formerly Hlatshwayo), who said they took the decision to disqualify the six clubs for failing to honour their assignments.

He said the games were moved from Sinaba Stadium to Wattville Stadium in the neighbouring Benoni township for security reasons.

This follows an incident where well- known referee and former Kaizer Chiefs player Jerry "JJ" Jumbe was assaulted by Argentina's players in their game against Friends Like These last week.

Only two teams, Amandebele United Brothers from Mpumalanga and Daveyton's Mighty Bucs, turned up for the quarterfinals at Wattville Stadium on Wednesday.

Both teams have since qualified for the final scheduled for Saturday at the same venue, said Ngoetjana.

Bongani Ngwenya, a spokesman for the disgruntled teams, said they felt that it would be costly to travel to Wattville despite a 50 percent transport subsidy offered by the organising committee.

Said a concerned Ngwenya: "For the past six years the competition has been held in Daveyton from the start until the finals without hassles. Why change the venue now? The support base of the competition is in Daveyton.''

The discussion to resolve the issue ended in deadlock on Tuesday.

Ngoetjana said teams were given a circular last Wednesday that informed them that the quarters, semis and finals will take place at Wattville Stadium.

He said the under-13, under-15 and masters games that were disrupted on Wedneday would be rescheduled.